An encounter with some cheeky lemurs while on a family holiday were the inspiration for illustrator and author, Zehra Hicks’ latest book ‘Flying Lemurs‘. Zehra has been traveling since she was a child and despite burning her foot on a cigarette during her first trip abroad to Mallorca she caught the travel bug. Her adventures around the world have stirred her imagination ever since. She never travels without her sketchbook, pencils and pens.
Illustrator and Author: Zehra Hicks
Zehra Hicks is a children’s book author and illustrator, and a mum of two. She started working as a children’s book illustrator after she had her first child 8 years ago, and she’s now working on her 5th picture book. Travelling is not only important for her lifestyle and her children’s experiences, but also very much for her work.
Zehra’s travel style
I used to happily do things like hop off to India with my back pack or take a 3 week tour round China. Since we’ve had two children it’s not just about me anymore! I’ve been taking more British holidays and luckily we don’t have to travel very far to get to a good beach.
If it wasn’t for the children, I wouldn’t have been camping this year. Actually I tell a big lie – ‘glamping’. We’ll do proper camping next year, I’ve got the bug! But I’d highly recommend Feather Down Farms or National Trust Big Camps if it’s your first time camping with children. For the National Trust camps they may even help you put up your tent!
I don’t spend too long researching our trips. I’d love to, but I just haven’t got time. I will do a few quick searches online but otherwise rely on word of mouth, and AirBnB – which I love.
What do you choose to splurge on your travels and why?
I actually don’t really splurge – I’m more cheap and cheerful! But experience is key to gain insight into the culture of that country or place I may be traveling to, especially for the children. So in Brittany last year, on the island of Bréhat where no cars are allowed, kayaking with the kids in the bay was a special treat.
Zehra’s favourite places and spaces
I will always have a soft spot for India, but city breaks or by the seaside are my favourite. I’d happily live by the sea. I love Rye in East Sussex and it’s only 90 mins away from where I live. Beware of the quick sand on Winchelsea Beach though!
I love city breaks too, but we haven’t done that many recently with the children. Barcelona would be great to go with them soon though, and it would be brilliant for its beaches too.
I’m very fond of Amsterdam. I guess having lived in The Netherlands for 8 months it’s where I properly learnt to cycle. It ignited my love of cycling and gave me the confidence to commute on a bike in London – I’m sure I wouldn’t have dared to otherwise. I’d love to take the family to my old haunts and stay on a house boat.
As long as I’ve got my sketchbook, I’m pretty happy anywhere – whether it is for people watching or drawing landscape around me, even in the pouring rain.
How does travel inspire your work?
I’m always on the look out for ideas for new stories, so it is SO important for me to explore places, environments, and experiences. My latest book, ‘Flying Lemurs’ was inspired while on a family mini break staying in a shepherd’s hut in West Sussex. On our way home we visited Drusilla’s Park where I met lemurs for the first time jumping freely around me.
Where to next Zehra?
Hoping to be a bit more adventurous and go to India, but probably not for a few years when our youngest is old enough to remember the experience.
Connect with Zehra
Thanks Zehra for being part of the Travel Traits series on Untold Morsels
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As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own based on personal experience.